Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

advice, news & freebies

Melamine Children’s Dishes – Safe or Toxic? October 9, 2008

Filed under: Baby & Toddler — Rachel @ 4:48 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Last year when I rid our house of BPA-plastics, I wondered about melamine children’s dishes.  You know, those hard plastic kids plates and bowls with cute painted designs?  They are what everyone uses for kid’s tableware.  Safe or toxic?

I scoured the Internet for info on the safety of melamine for children, but came up with few hard facts: melamine is NOT dishwasher safe or microwave safe (something about the heat can cause dangerous fumes), melamine dishes are a polymer (that means combo) of melamine and formaldehyde, and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.  These few facts did not boost my confidence.  Since my thought is to err on the side of caution when it comes to man made chemicals and my children, I decided to donate the melamine.  Since then, my 3-year-old has been using ceramic plates (none broken yet!) and my toddler has been eating out of Bambu Bowls (available at EuphoriaBaby.com).

Now, months later, I received an interesting email from Healthy Child Healthy World.  They noted that the FDA states that no level of melamine is safe for infant formula.  Considering that the FDA thinks BPA-emitting plastics are safe (yah right!), this makes one wonder why they’re taking such a strong stand on melamine.  Any research will reveal that melamine leaches its constituents into food and beverages(especially those that are acidic or warm) when used.  In the past, experts have claimed that this chemical would be safe in small amounts.  However, those experts always seem to forget about the dangers of cumulative exposure and unpredictable reactions when different chemicals converge within the body.

This June, The National Toxicology Program declared that more research is needed on the safety of melamine and that a new public health recommendation needs to be developed.  I can see where this is going.  If you are still using your cute melamine dishes, you may want to consider donating them or relegating them to the play kitchen or sandbox.   For the youngest ones, use wooden or stainless steel dishes.  And, let your older ones use ceramic dishes – a few broken dishes is well worth their health, and your child may be more ready for it than you think!

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9 Responses to “Melamine Children’s Dishes – Safe or Toxic?”

  1. Kansas Mom Says:

    I’ve felt uneasy about our melamine for ages, especially when I saw my parents put it in the dishwasher…I think this post may be the one that gets it out of the house!

    I just found your blog through NatureMomsBlog. I also have a four year old (and a two year old and two month old) and will be homeschooling, though I’m leaning toward Charlotte Mason myself.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Nice to meet you, Kansas Mom. I love Charlotte Mason style too. It’s great to have several homeschooling styles in one’s tool chest!

  3. lizibear Says:

    Oh cool! My husband is not going to be happy when I tell him that yet another kind of plastic is going out the door. I am definately going to order some of the bambu bowls…are they very durable?
    Do you mind if I post a link to this post on my blog?

  4. Carol Says:

    I’ve been buying Corelle dishes while I am transitioning out the melamine & plastic. They are made from glass but are not supposed to break/chip. I really like them because they’re light & small enough for my 5 yr old & 2 1/2 yr old to handle.

  5. Rachel Says:

    Lizibear – Yes, feel free to post a link :). I’ve been using the bambu bowls since early this year. They are not as durable as plastic or stainless and we use them constantly, so I’ve replaced one. However, they are just so beautiful, that I love using them regardless. We use the one I had to replace to store acorns on our nature table!

  6. Amy Says:

    Thank you so much! I started throwing out the melamine last year when it showed up in dog food and all those dogs died or became very sick. I thought this can not be safe — but couldn’t find any information on the topic except a government document regarding concerns about melamine finding its way into the food chain through cattle feed. The latest scare with the baby formula made me throw out the last two plates. I have been surprised to see these dishes listed as “safe” because they were BPA-free.

  7. Maxine Says:

    You know I’ve also been wondering about these dishes. We only have two that I use rarely, but they are still in the cabinet. We actually just give our son (3 1/2) the salad plate of our regular dishes. He’s only broken one, and I actually take responsibility for that one. He even sets the table with the plates for the whole family.

    I like your idea of putting them in the play kitchen – they’ll be there before dinenr this evening! Good post -Thanks!

  8. Gramme Says:

    My daughter sent this info. to me. Now I feel awfull since when she had Baby Grace I gave her the Beatrice Potter’s Peter Rabbit baby dishes and eating utensils,also Mickey and Minne set, both malamine. I have ,since reading this, told her to not feel guilty and toss the things. May I suggest to ALL MOMS just throw them away!! Why would you even let your children touch them??


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